Community revitalization projects, entrepreneurial program to drive continued economic growth, local vitality across Michigan

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

• Community development projects will bring new housing, hotels and vibrancy to vacant places while promoting tourism in Grand Haven, Hillsdale, Ludington • MSF Board also approves tech transfer program to help grow state’s high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem

LANSING, Mich. – Support for projects that will create vibrant spaces and boost tourism in the communities of Grand Haven, Hillsdale and Ludington and a program that will further grow Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem gained approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

“The projects approved today lay a path for economic growth and recovery by increasing resources for high-tech startups in Michigan, while renewing underused and vacant spaces to bring much-needed housing and vitality to three important communities,” said MEDC CEO Mark Burton. “From supporting vibrant downtowns to strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem, we remain committed to building the Michigan places where people want to live, work, visit, and play.”

Community Revitalization Projects Create Vibrant Communities, Attract Talent, Boost Tourism

The Michigan Strategic Fund today approved community revitalization projects in Grand Haven, Hillsdale and Ludington that are helping to create vibrant places that attract and keep talent. By contributing to traditional downtown districts and revitalizing underutilized public spaces, the projects are bringing new opportunities for economic growth and local vitality to these communities.

Peerless Caddis, LLC plans to redevelop a mostly vacant site that previously housed a manufacturing facility and construct four multifamily residential buildings in the city of Grand Haven. The project includes the demolition of four existing buildings at the site and will also include publicly maintained improvements including sidewalks, parking, roadway, and curbs and gutters. When complete, Peerless Flats will consist of 124 year-round, market-rate residential units and an amenities building that will include a kitchenette, meeting space, an exercise area and a community room.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $24.7 million and create three full-time equivalent jobs. The project will redevelop a long-underutilized site within downtown Grand Haven and will bring new residents to the area who will support existing retail businesses and restaurants and further establish the downtown as a year-round destination to live, work, visit and play. In addition, Peerless Flats will be within walking distance of Lake Michigan, Grand River, the farmers market, and other community amenities. The project is also expected to serve as a catalyst for additional economic activity in the area.

MSF today approved a $4.75 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan participation award in support of the project. The City of Grand Haven Brownfield Redevelopment Authority also received MSF approval of a brownfield work plan that includes $1,378,865 in state tax capture that will help with the remediation of brownfield conditions at the site.

The Brownfield Redevelopment Authority has agreed to support the project through a local portion of the Brownfield Tax Increment Financing Plan in the amount of $1,220,962 to reimburse for Brownfield eligible activity costs, as well as $1,114,889 in local-only eligible activity reimbursement. Grand Haven is certified with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program and is a master level community in the Michigan Main Street program.

“High density residential growth in Michigan downtowns is a promising trend and this project will trigger many other such developments around our downtown. New residents, tax base, spending power and vitality bode very well for our regional economy,” said Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis. “Many hands make light work, and in this case, we got a hand from the owners, the developer, MEDC, the Brownfield Authority, Main Street Downtown Development Authority, EGLE and City Council.”

The Keefer House Hotel, LLC, a project of CL Real Estate Development, LLC, will restore the blighted Keefer Hotel in the heart of downtown Hillsdale into a 34-room boutique hotel. This historical renovation project will include commercial space on the ground floor as well as hotel space with modern amenities, a welcoming lobby and an upscale restaurant to be enjoyed by guests as well as members of the community.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $12.3 million, create 50 full-time equivalent jobs, and will renovate a long-vacant, historic building into a new hotel that will generate new tourist stays and bring additional revenue to the area. The Keefer House is a contributing building to the city of Hillsdale’s National Register of Historic Places commercial district, but has been vacant creating a detrimental influence on the downtown landscape. The development is expected to transform downtown Hillsdale and spur economic development throughout the city.

MSF today approved a $2 million MCRP equity investment award in support of the project. Local support for the project includes an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA) tax abatement for 12 years valued at approximately $577,000. In addition, the city will partially forgive the loan for the building upon Certificate of Occupancy in the amount of $265,000. The city of Hillsdale is also certified with MEDC’s RRC program.

“Given the economic effect of COVID-19, The Keefer Hotel project could not come at a better time for Hillsdale’s downtown business district. The construction being conducted on the Keefer House will provide a much-needed revitalization of a historic structure and serve as a catalyst for the business district,” said Hillsdale City Manager David Mackie. “We greatly appreciate the collaborative efforts of groups such as MEDC, CL Real Estate Development LLC, and the greater Hillsdale community. Without them, this project could not happen.”

In the middle of a charming neighborhood in Ludington, a massive brick building has sat vacant at 801 North Rowe Street for many years. Built in 1892, it is a physical monument to the manufacturing legacy of the region. The building begins a new chapter as construction starts on a $14-million renovation beings in May 2021.

The Michigan Strategic Fund today approved the Haskell Building/Lofts on Rowe community development project located at 801 N. Rowe St. in Ludington. The project will convert a long-vacant manufacturing building into a residential structure with office space on the first floor. Built in 1890, the building has had numerous uses, most of which were manufacturing. It has been vacant for many years and has fallen into a condition of significant disrepair and will require a full rehabilitation. Once completed, the project will include 65 affordable housing units and one office unit and will create a new parking lot and sidewalks and will also relocate two municipal facilities.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $12.7 million and create three jobs, and will transform a blighted, unutilized property into a unique historic and vibrant place near downtown Ludington while also bringing year-round affordable housing, especially needed for the local tourism workforce, to the area.

The city of Ludington received MSF approval of $2 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for elimination of blight at the project site. In addition, the Mason County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of a brownfield work plan that includes $1,554,279 in state tax capture that will assist with the remediation of brownfield conditions at the site.

The city of Ludington is contributing an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (“OPRA”) tax abatement for 12 years, estimated to be worth $1,825,802. Other local support includes the local portion of the Brownfield TIF for MSF eligible activities estimated at $1,574,302 and for EGLE eligible activities at $219,798. The Pennies from Heaven Foundation has contributed a $1million grant to the project. The city is engaged with the MEDC’s RRC program.

“The renovation and complete remodel of the Haskell building into an amazing multi-family workforce housing facility will not only make an incredible impact on the immediate neighborhood, but also begin to address the greater housing issue,” said Ludington City Manager Mitchell Foster. “Working with Michigan Community Capital and their partners on this project has been a pleasant experience and we are grateful for the Michigan Strategic Fund Board for their confidence in this project.”

Lofts on Rowe is a single purpose entity formed and owned by Michigan Community Capital, (MCC). MCC is a private non-profit corporation and 501c3 public charity that was created to attract and deploy capital for use in job creation and community development in Michigan.

Early stage, high tech startup support to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved the University Early Stage Proof of Concept – ADVANCE Fund Request for Proposals to strengthen the ecosystem that enables more entrepreneurship, commercialization and new businesses in the state.

The University Early Stage Proof of Concept – ADVANCE Fund awards grants to university faculty with early stage technology ideas to encourage the development of competitive-edge technologies to create startups in Michigan. The program provides matching funds that create a strong incentive for faculty with early stage technologies at Michigan universities to engage with their university’s technology transfer office to achieve critical early stage milestones that lead to commercialization activities.

The purpose of the RFP is to award a grant in the amount of $250,000 to a university for the implementation of the program. Additional information on the RFP will be available on January 27 here:

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.